House Republicans Hypocritically Call On Democrats To End 'Demagoguery'

June 01, 2011 2:50 pm ET — Alan Pyke

At a press conference after this morning's debt-limit meeting at the White House, senior House Republicans called on Democrats to stop telling Americans what voucherizing Medicare will cost future seniors, saying that such explanations of the GOP budget are 'demagoguery.' Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stepped to the microphone to tell a reporter that he "simply explained what our plan is, how it works" to President Obama "so that in the future he won't mischaracterize it."

Ryan went on to warn that "if we demagogue each other at the leadership level then we're never gonna take on our debt."

RYAN: We gotta take on this debt. And if we demagogue each other at the leadership level then we're never gonna take on our debt. We have a debt crisis coming, we want to deal with this, and if we want to grow jobs and the economy, we gotta get our spending under control, we gotta get our debt under control. And if we try to demagogue each other's attempts to do that, then we're not applying the kind of political leadership we need to get this economy growing and get this debt under control. [...] I simply explained what our plan is, how it works. It's been misdescribed by the president and many others, and so we simply described to him precisely what it is we've been proposing, so he hears from us how our proposal works, so that in the future he won't mischaracterize it.


Of course, there's a difference between 'demagoguery' and spelling out the ugly, CBO-certified facts of the GOP's Medicare plan, which even the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal says would "essentially end Medicare."

Ryan's decision to get sanctimonious about rhetoric now is a rich bit of hypocrisy. Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" was loaded with demagoguery, and from his official Republican response to January's State of the Union address to his recent declaration that Democratic spending is "the whole reason" the debt limit needs to be raised, he's injected this debate with unfounded and hysterical attacks on Democrats. (And then there's the avalanche of pro-Republican TV ads that ran last year falsely accusing Dems of 'gutting Medicare').

But now that Republicans have waded hip-deep into a political quagmire by voting to replace Medicare with an undervalued voucher program for everyone younger than 55, the man who agrees with Glenn Beck that progressivism is "a cancer" says anyone who paints an accurate picture of what his party would do to future seniors is a "demagogue" and unfit to lead. Convenient.